FIRST LOOK: THE NEW RANGE ROVER. WHY CULLINAN AND BENTAYGA HAVE A WORTHY NEW RIVAL

by | Nov 10, 2021 | Cars, Motor

There couldn’t have been a more perfect setting than the Royal Opera House in London for the launch of the all-new Range Rover. A place steeped in history seems a perfect canvas for arguably the most important car for the whole Jaguar Land Rover group.

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The Range Rover isn’t just a cash cow but is the brand that actually sells the rest of the range. Hence, getting it right seemed like a high-risk pay-off with the bean counters eagerly watching. Suffice to say, the new Range Rover doesn’t mess with the recipe perfected by its predecessors. Instead it only refined it while adding generous dollops of luxury.

Range Rover: Moving on up

In its fifth generation, the Range Rover has moved even more upmarket and stakes a claim in the immensely popular luxury SUV sector. In its third generation, this SUV arguably gave birth to the super luxury 4×4 market while rivals like the Bentley Bentayga and Rolls-Royce Cullinan have moved things to the stratosphere. The new Range Rover also debuts a raft of new luxury-plus technology, including a new platform, a sleek body style, new interior and latest luxury car trickery.

Style change: A “floating roof”

That said, what is on the outside counts more. Here, the new Range Rover takes an evolutionary approach but is a master class in fusion of various design details. The door handles are flush so as to not interrupt the body work while the design is cleaned up with shrunken shut lines. The hallmark design bits of the Range Rover have been kept in-tact. But the face is altered with a more mature look while 23-inch wheels do not look too big at all.

Most noticeable styling change includes the “floating roof” and the new tail-lamps which remain invisible when not being used. They merge with the rear styling and gives it a more luxury yacht-like demeanour. Both Standard and Long Wheelbase body designs – including a five-seat LWB configuration – are available with new “SV Serenity” and “SV Intrepid” design themes.

Interior is the game changer

Arguably the biggest change is on the inside which was in dire need of a radical overhaul due to the constant bombardment of technology filtering into new-age luxury cars. The doors are power assisted and move beyond soft-close doors. We like the fuss-free interior. Now there is more choice in terms of materials and cabin finishes including metals, ceramics, textiles and sustainable leather.

The driver is greeted by a massive 13.7-inch display which is customizable of course while only dwarfed by the 13.1-inch curved, floating touchscreen. The main screen now has Alexa and features haptic feedback. Other features include adjustable 11.4-inch HD touchscreens mounted on the rear of the front seatbacks, Wi-Fi hotspot, 3D Surround Camera system, Active Noise Cancellation, a 1,600W Meridian Signature Sound System plus an air purification feature to reduce viruses and bacteria.

There is more space and you can choose the limousine like four-seat executive rear seat configuration plus more. The classic split tail-gate is very much present too albeit with a new load space floor.

Good value compared to competitors

Air suspension, all-wheel steering and the latest Terrain-response program is standard. All this enables the big Range Rover to be nimble in the city plus being capable in terms of off-road – whether owners actually use them off-road is another matter altogether. Those waiting for an all-electric model would be in for a disappointment as it is still two years away but Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) powertrains do make it to the range from launch.

There is a P440e and P510e, and the mild-hybrid (MHEV) P400 Ingenium petrol and D300 and D350 diesel engines. For those who need more power the old fashioned way, the P530 Twin Turbo V8 is also there. You can order the new Range Rover now with prices topping up at $180,000. The new Range Rover is big money but in the grand scheme of things, it’s more capable, less flashy and has more value than rivals.

What we like

The new design looks cleaner and retains the classic stance. Raft of new features and luxuries bring it up to date now.

What we don’t like

Electrified Range Rover is still two years away – not a radical design change from its predecessor as well.

Overall

Pretty much one of the most accomplished luxury SUVs that is still classy. We will reserve our verdict as and when we drive it soon.

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